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every semblance of captiousness and dissension, but no set of men can continue to act in concert for the purpose of carrying measures opposed to their convictions. That à New Reform Bill will be proposed by the present administration in contradiction to the known principles of the Conservative party we do not believe. Lord Derby, who is as chivalrous in honour as he is brilliant in talent, is not the person to break through the obligations he has contracted by assuming the lead of a body who, before all things, are pledged to resist the encroachments of democracy. That any plan he would sanction would be opposed by the other sections of the House is probable enough, and it is not unlikely that they might succeed in defeating it. But if an appeal must be made to the country on the subject, it is better that issue should be joined at once on the question, whether mere numbers or property and intelligence are henceforth to prevail in the election of members of Parliament. It would then, we are convinced, be found that the country was adverse to organic change, and that we are not prepared to run frightful risks without the possibility of advantage. Certain parties of the House of Commons may demand a Reform Bill for party purposes. The nation is indifferent to their intrigues, and will not consent to be sacrificed to personal interests. There is at present none of that madness of the many for the gain of the few which has so often prevailed ; and from all the inquiries. we have made we are satisfied that a large and influential body of old Whigs, both in and out of Parliament, desire on this occasion that Conservatism should triumph.
That this conservatism consists in the retention of abuses, no one who has observed the course of events can for an instant maintain. The desire of its adherents is for safety to the great institutions of the country—the throne, the aristocracy, and the established church—and for security for that property without which civilization itself must be extinguished and relapse into barbarism. They know that the prosperity of the nation is dependent upon a rational freedom, and that freedom and
prosperity would both be märred by the inroads of democratic tyranny. They are as much opposed to oppression as any men, and are as anxious as any men to promote the welfare of the entire community. None have been more forward in their places in Parliament to advocate measures for the benefit of the lower orders, and none have done more-we should speak the truth if we said that none have done so much to effect the same end in their private capacities. They have been zealous to promote the education of the people, and have given their hearty support to the amendment of the law. In the administration of Vol. 105.–No. 209.
the finances they have always been better economists than their opponents, and it is notorious that the Duke of Wellington, without any pressure whatever, had been so zealous in retrenchment, that Lord Grey, who made it one of his watchwords, found it difficult to discover anything in which to retrench. Lord Derby has a noble career before him in the continuance of wise remedial measures, and he will earn the gratitude of the country by supplying useful work for the machine instead of pulling the machine itself to pieces.
There may be some sanguine persons who, inferring the moderation of the people from their present contentment, may think that the suffrage may be safely lowered. But we reiterate that the kind of representatives sent to the Reformed Parliament by the towns is a proof that the suffrage has already gone too far in that direction. The multitude, stirred up by demagogues at an election, vote for him who makes the largest promises; and if they do this when they are prosperous, they will be still more readily deluded when they are suffering from want. There
be others who are desirous to make concessions for the sake of a settlement, and who may hope that a second Reform Bill will prevent the desire for a third, Let the present demands of Mr. Bright open their eyes to the truth. The trade of the agitator will never cease while ambition exists. There will always be people who will endeavour to rise to influence by appealing to the passions of the mob, and the mob will always listen to doctrines which favour their own pre-eminence. Whatever is granted, the same causes will be at work, and demand will only follow demand in continual succession. Reform is a road which conducts to a precipice. At the first halt there arises a cry of Advance.' Another stage is passed, and reasonable men hope that they have reached the goal; but suddenly they find the numbers greater than ever of those who cry Advance, advance !' In vain the wiser heads endeavour to stop; an irresistible force impels them onwards. They become still more conscious that they are approaching the brink; and they eagerly desire to retrace their steps while yet they tread upon the solid earth. But on they must go in spite of themselves, and although they know that they are hastening to ruin.
Let the middle classes of this great country, the manufacturers, the respectable tradespeople, the farmers-all, in short, who employ labour and pay wages-pause before they put themselves and their property under the dominion of their men. Unless they offer a steady and timely resistance the fatal boundary will be passed, when they will no longer be able to control the movement and save the State.
ART. I.— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, called Frederick the
Great. By Thomas Carlyle. Second Edition, . 1858. IT is not surprising that the biography of Frederick II. of Prussia
should have had considerable attractions for Mr. Carlyle. The triumph of the monarch's strong and self-relying will in doing battle with adverse circumstances was in itself enough to command the sympathies of a writer with whom success and the practical assertion of power have always been the chief claims to fame. The tragic elements too of Frederick's early life could not fail to touch other feelings of the best nature, which in certain moods belong to no one more largely than to Mr. Carlyle. But even here it seems that the disposition to side with the strongest will has exercised its habitual sway over the mind of the historian; for during the life-time of Frederick’s tyrannical father this potentate of the hour is the person for whom our approbation is asked, while the Crown Prince is made to play almost as inferior a part in his own biography as he actually did at his father's court. King Frederick William is in fact the hero of the two volumes which purport to be the history of his son, and the present instalment of the work is in great measure devoted to placing a man who · has hitherto been considered to be little better than a ruffian in the rank of one of the best and wisest monarchs of Christendom, and proving him to be one of the kindest and most judicious parents that ever adorned domestic life. To exhibit the great military commander of the middle of the preceding century—the supposed last representative of the lost art of king-craft in Europe-in a truer and clearer light than has yet been done, which is the avowed aim of Mr. Carlyle, however, is a task which remains almost entirely to be accomplished in future portions of the biography.
Since the days of Frederick, and the transactions among which he played so conspicuous a part, other vast agencies have been at work, and other great names have for their time filled the public ear with the sound of exploits of arms and policy. In parVol. 105.-No. 210.
ticular, the volcanic energies of the great French Revolution came into play, and streams of lava from that huge centre of disturbance have partially covered the previous
surface of events : but the proportions of the great King of Prussia have been sufficient to maintain him in undiminished eminence, and the figure of the victor of Rosbach was never lost sight of, even in the fullest blaze of Austerlitz and Wagram. The lofty position of the very highest names in every department of human exertion is only confirmed by comparison with subsequent, as well as with antecedent celebrity. The military genius of Frederick is in no more danger of suffering eclipse from the later campaigns of a Wellington and a Napoleon than from the earlier battles of an Eugene and a Marlborough. It cannot be truly said that his memory is likely to be forgotten, or that it requires vindication from neglect. His picture has been painted often enough; the colours are till bright, and a new artist has no room to excuse his choice of the subject on the ground that a fresh portrait is necessary in order to save the lineaments of its original from the risk of oblivion. But it is sufficient that the painter is fascinated by the figure he attempts to portray, and that he has some striking abilities for the task, to justify him in the attempt to add one more to the existing series of like nesses of a well-known historical
personage. This must, however regretfully, be pronounced to be Mr. Carlyle's worst work. It should be his best, because he has been long occupied in the collection of materials from sources which, although accessible to every one, are from their multitude enough. to repulse any attempts to master them, unless the research was prosecuted with the utmost enthusiasm and industry; and it has the additional merit of containing many passages in which he has put forth all his strength. It must, nevertheless, be called his worst, because, although composed after the completion of a collected edition of his former writings, the publication of which must have compelled him to pass them carefully in review, the present work outdoes its predecessors in those faults of style, and still graver occasional aberrations of thought, which have always given as much pain to Mr. Carlyle's admirers as they have afforded amusement to the world at large. Before the field of art in this country had been invaded by what we cannot avoid thinking is a similar perversion of taste, Mr. Carlyle had in the field of English literature long indulged in those peculiarities for which he is perhaps now more notorious, than he is famous for the merits which should win him an enduring reputation. The (so called) Præ-Raphaelite school of painters have professed the same abhorrence of the merely conventional. They too have
claimed a monopoly of what they call truth to nature, which, in their judgment, has hitherta been falsified by too much attention to art: they too, in following their own humour, and despising the remonstrances of all who disagree with themselves on questions of truth and beauty, bave been led into a wilderness of delusions and ugliness from which few of them can now hope ever to escape. Both in Mr. Carlyle's writings and in the pictures of this school there are to be found happy effects, and some intense expression of local and particular truths. But in both cases this power in minute parts is attained by the sacrifice of the subject considered as a whole. There is in both cases the same tendency to an affectation of peculiar veracity, which is among the worst of all affectations; and the same cant against cant, which is itself the perfection of cant. The perpetual exclamation against shows and unrealities is sure to end in being the most monstrous show and unreality of the whole. In both again there is the same habitual, avoidance of established and recognised types of fitness, apparently because they are recognised and established. This has driven the painters to expound, their own idea of the beautiful under forms which are often positively ugly; and with Mr. Carlyle the desire to get away from the common regions of accepted moral conclusions seems to have betrayed him into maintaining some very questionable positions on the limits of right and wrong. In both, it must be allowed, a certain earnestness of purpose redeems in some degree much that is wilful and wayward, and which otherwise might be passed by as unworthy of notice. parallel must not be too closely pressed. On the one hand, we cannot accord to the new school of art that sense of humour (in which they are totally deficient), that large sympathy with humanity, those deep and stirring passions, which, with a strange crust of caprice, and with some moral obliquities, underlie even the wildest and most objectionable portions of Mr. Carlyle's writings. On the other hand, the most promising of the Præ-Raphaelite painters have already moved onwards, and have shown themselves capable of distinction in a larger arena than they at first proposed to themselves, while Mr. Carlyle has degenerated from the better, though peculiar, style of his earlier writings.
In fact, in reading the History of Frederick II. of Prussia, we are almost led to doubt whether the volume which we supposed was open before us has not been playfully removed, and a volume of the Adventures of Gargantua and Pantagruel substituted in its place. Rabelais never rioted in greater licence of style, or has more completely set decorum at defiance. The old